This is the first post of many I plan to make highlighting a variety of “proofs/evidences” confirming the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon, and with it, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first point is the simple fact that the manner in which Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet and the Restoration of the Gospel came about was nothing new: it’s the same pattern or process by which such events have occurred many times throughout history. It’s merely one more example in a long line of the same.
Interesting facts worth considering:
- Today there are over 38 versions of the Holy Bible in English.
- There are 8 versions of the King James Version Bible alone.
- There are 20,000 different denominations in the world, each organizing their church in unique and different ways.
A great deal of religious confusion and differing opinions have existed since the time of Joseph Smith (the early 1800’s) up to today:
- Only 38% of ministers believe in the miracles of Christ and 40% of members.
- Only 23% of ministers believe in the reality of Satan … 27% of the members.
We read in the Doctrine & Covenants (D & C 10:63) how “…Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.”
The answer to this confusion can be found, among other places, in The Book of Mormon and Restored gospel of Jesus Christ, made available through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The key to or evidence of this statement lies in the pattern we’re seeing followed once again.
God prepared a way for us to know for ourselves, a “personal litmus test,” if you will, to help us decipher the truth of the story in the midst of the confusion. The Book of Mormon is one of the most important keys to knowing the truth of Christ’s gospel and the message restored on earth by the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Many of the prophets over the years have referred to The Book of Mormon as the “keystone” of our religion … the key to knowing whether both the Church—and the story itself—in their entirety are really true or not.
There’s really no middle ground. The reality is that the book must be either True or False. There is really no other option. If FALSE … it is one of the most cunning, bold, deep-laid impositions ever palmed upon the world, calculated to deceive millions. If TRUE … it is one of the most important messages ever sent from God to man, affecting both the temporal and eternal interests of every man, woman, and child on earth. The question is, is it worth it to you to find out which it is for yourself?
The simple fact remains that the Holy Bible provides multiple examples of God speaking to and choosing young men to perform His work, with notable examples such as Joseph of Egypt, Samuel, David, and others coming readily to mind. There are also numerous accounts of when prophets like Abraham, Peter, and Moses were visited by angels.
If God doesn’t change—if He truly is the same yesterday, today and forever—then He will continue to do exactly as He has always done (i.e. call young men as prophets and communicate with mankind by way of angelic ministration). To say otherwise would be to suggest that God changes … and lies (and He would cease to be God if He did). He is either the “same yesterday, today, and forever,” as Hebrews 13: 8 reminds us, and would do things the way He always has, or He isn’t and wouldn’t. It can’t be both. (Click Here for related images). The one fact just cannot be true without the other being true as well. Either He’s the same and followed the same pattern when He called Joseph Smith, or He isn’t and this was something new.
Revelations 14:6 states, “I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people.” John (the Revelator) was told these things by an angel himself. He recounts, “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.”
You’d be hard-pressed to come up with a more perfect description of the Restoration of the Gospel by Joseph Smith than this passage. But, the cool thing is that we still don’t have to take any of this at face-value. God has never asked us to believe in this story blindly, which is nice. He gave us a way to know for ourselves, which is really important because it is incredible and a little hard to wrap your head around at first!
One of the most important things about The Book of Mormon is, even with the obvious continuation of the pattern that’s been used many times over the years to call a prophet which I’m speaking, God included a promise for us, a help … the so-called “Promise of The Book of Mormon,” so we could put to the test personally God’s pattern for us and learn for ourselves whether the story is true or not. This promise is found in the final chapter of the book, in the account of the Prophet Moroni (in Moroni 10: 3-5) which he penned for us just before hiding up the book clear back in approxiately 421 A.D.:
Moroni 10: 3-5:
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
It’s because of this promise, primarily, that millions of people have and are joining the Mormon church all over the world. On top of all the good principles, the family values, the fellowship, philanthropy, and more that are attractive to folks about the Church, this promise really is the primary driving force. It’s not because the missionaries are so compelling or the members are so perfect (hardly!) or even because the BYU Football Team is all that great (even if they are; J/K). It is not because being Mormon is the easiest path to follow or that the naysayers make it any easier or that everyone will understand if you choose to follow your heart and become Mormon. It isn’t for any of these reasons. Very simply: folks are putting the promise to the test and seeing that it works for themselves. It’s really as simple and as powerful as that. I could go on—and there are many more pieces of evidence to consider (and we will discuss these over the days and weeks to come)—but know this truth and please keep it in mind, please put it to the test yourself, since it is at the very heart of the entire exploration.
I look forward to sharing more of these evidences with you. Please … just remember this promise if you really want to know if this is true. It is at the heart of the “Mormon Adventure” and the associated growth and progress of the Church and message worldwide. It really does work and can change your life and your outlook if you let it.
Keep searching. The answers exist and you’re getting closer!
Patrick Laing – Portland, Oregon USA